Notes from a Summer League Sunday: Doug McDermott is the early Vegas fan favorite
LAS VEGAS — Summer League is a three ring circus. There are simultaneous games in adjoining gyms not to mention the sideshows of agents, coaches and players walking around. It’s sensory overload.
We can’t get to it all, but here are some highlights from our notebook from Sunday.
• Doug McDermott can flat out ball — Sunday night he dropped 31 points on 7-of-12 shooting overall and 5-of-9 from three, plus he got to the line a dozen times.
If you’re looking for the early crowd favorite in Las Vegas, you found him. Every time he went up the crowd at the Cox Pavilion started to come to life in anticipation, and when the shot fell it got loud.
He put on a shooting clinic with coach Tom Thibodeau sitting courtside (no doubt day dreaming about all the shooting he will have next season with Pau Gasol, Nikola Mirotic and now McDermott). This was a big improvement for McDermott over his first Summer League game.
“That first one I was a little uptight, you know, just so excited for my first game. Today it slowed down,” McDermott. “It felt more like basketball.”
I’m no scout but here are my observations on McDermott: He works very hard off the ball and has a great concept of spacing and finding gaps in the defense. He has shooting range from Las Vegas out to about Primm. If you think all he can do is spot up and shoot you haven’t watched him, he can put the ball on the floor and knows how to draw contact. He’s not big, he looks more like a swingman size than a stretch four (DraftExpress said pre-draft he could play either forward, not sold on that now that I’ve seen him). With him and Nikola Mirotic and Pau Gasol that’s a lot of added shooting from big men, something that will open things up if Derrick Rose is healthy.
• Tony Snell had 23 for the Bulls and while I can’t get used to the new hair style his game has filled out along with his body (although he’s still thin). He’s another Bull who will be better next season.
“We ran that down screen action and it was giving them a some trouble,” McDermott said of playing off Snell. “Whenever you’ve got two shooters like that it’s tough to guard.”
• Anthony Bennett looks good. Very good. Maybe not No. 1 pick material, but a lot better than last season. First, he looks in shape and is moving like it, with real energy and purpose. He’s showed a nice jump shot and was strong on the boards. He finished with 13 points and 14 rebounds. Check back Monday for more from Bennett and his coach David Blatt on last year’s No.1 pick.
• After his game, Bennett went up in the stands and watched part of the second game next to some friends. The Vegas native said his high school principal and a number of his teachers had come to the game.
• Andrew Wiggins certainly is athletic and shows flashes with his skill. He was also 3-of-11 outside the paint, the jumper needs work. His form isn’t terrible, but it’s going to take some reps.
• A good observation by our friend D.J. Foster: The Spurs Kyle Anderson is Boris Diaw in training. He’s got that same versatile, deliberate, smart game. In a couple years he could provide a lot of what Diaw does in that offense. (Anderson struggled a little with his shot Sunday, going 1-of-7.)
• Both Nik Stauskas and Ben McLemore of the Kings have pretty strokes. But Stauskas was 2-of-6 outside the paint (2-of-4 from three) and McLemore was 0-of-5 outside the paint (but 4-of-5 in the paint, plus he got to the line five times).
• P.J. Hairston loves the long ball — he took 13 threes Sunday, hit six. Of course, through two games now he is 8-of-36 shooting. He’s got some on the court problems to go with his off the court ones.
• A PBT favorite from last year’s Summer League back for another year, the Hawks’ Dennis Schroder scored 30 points on 9-of-14 shooting. Expect more from him in Atlanta next season.
• Sim Bhullar is a massive human being. I don’t think this can be overstated.
• Noah Vonleh’s shooting was better than his first game (hard not to be better than 0-of-13) and he does some nice things — 18 rebounds, he made some good recognitions and passed out of the double team to the right guy, but he continues to struggle finishing against the athleticism he is seeing inside. That should come with time, but the NBA game can be an adjustment.
• Quincy Miller has scored more than 20 points in both of the Nuggets’ games and looked good inside.